The Greatest Usul Day
One morning, Rissa, Lai, Emi, and I were eating omelette pieces and jelly halves for breakfast, as usual. Our owner Masha made us the usual omelette- and- jelly sandwiches for lunch. Picky little Lai suddenly threw down her carrot-and-pea omelette and shouted, “Why don’t you ever buy us food? Why do we have to eat only the stupid freebies? I am beyond sick of this stupid vegetable stuffed eggy mess and squishy over-sweetened blobs. I want some real food!”
Masha put the chopped-up jelly down and sighed. “You know I’m not made of neopoints, Laikania. Do you have any idea how expensive it can be, getting food for four neopets? I’m trying to carefully budget our money for Christmas presents, neohome decorations, toys and wearables for you and your sisters, a thanksgiving feast, that artist’s outfit Emi wanted but I can’t find anywhere... You’ll just have to buy your own lunch, if you don’t like what I give you.”
“Well, if you gave me SOME kind of allowance, maybe I WOULD!” Lai grabbed a sandwich and stomped away.
When she was out of the room, Masha turned to me, Rissa, and Emi. “You know, Usul day is coming up. Laikania is incredibly picky about her food, as you well know. I doubt there’s anything she would like more than a fancy dinner at Kelp in her honor. Do you guys think you can arrange that?” she asked.
“Of course!” I answered without hesitation.
“I didn’t have anything else planned for the week,” Rissa said, shoving her empty plate away.
“I’d love to!” Emi insisted.
We sometimes called Lai Bubbles, not just because her name was Laikania_bubblebath, but because she was so silly and bubbly and fun. She was family, and Rissa, Emi, and I would be willing to do almost anything for her. She’s never been to Kelp before. I don’t even think she’s been to Maraqua. A dinner at Kelp would be absolutely perfect for Usul Day. How expensive could one dinner be, anyway?
It turned out to be very expensive. The three of us went to Kelp that evening, just to see how much it would cost for at least one full meal. It was more than twice the neopoints we had, even when you pick the absolute cheapest food!
“I think we should just get her something for a ski trip to Terror Mountain. Usul Day is also the beginning of Usul skiing season, right, Lyli?” Emi asked me, nervously glancing at the price list. “Or go to the Golden Dubloon and get her something there,” Rissa added. “We still have some of those coins, don’t we? Or maybe we could-”
I cut her off. “Rissa, we have no dubloons, Lai hates skiing, and we WILL get her a fancy dinner, WHATEVER it takes.” I was determined to follow through on that prospect.
The days passed. Rissa, Emi, and I played games, did tons of jobs, tried to sell half the junk in our SDB, ran around collecting all sorts of freebies, completed quests, spun wheels, and did just about everything else possible, until finally, a few days before Usul Day, we earned enough. We even earned a few thousand neopoints over, so we bought a rather nice Long Orange Dress for Lai to wear.
The three of us made our way to the bank, so we could keep the cash safe till Saturday. All of a sudden, the Pant Devil appeared. “I shall take that,” he snarled, grinning malevolently as he snatched the bags of neopoints out of our hands.
“No! How dare you! Give it back! We NEED THOSE!” Rissa screamed. She tried to wrestle the bags out of his hands, but to no avail. Guess she hadn’t learned yet that the Pant Devil NEVER gives ANYTHING back. He flew away without another word, leaving only a thousand neopoints and a Long Orange Dress for us to stare at hopelessly.
“Oh isn’t it ironic,” I sighed, flopping down on a bench, “that we got our money stolen while going to put it into a safe place?”
“Now what are we going to do?” Emi asked, her normally calm face actually looking worried for once. “We can’t get ALL that money in just three days! About a quarter of that, perhaps, but...”
An idea slowly dawned on me. “Maybe we don’t have to. Lai would like to try something fancy and exotic, right? Something that sounds glamorous?”
Rissa nodded uncertainly. “Bubbles is all about glamour and luxury,” Rissa said, using Lai’s special nickname. “But what could we do with that-” Then she realized what I meant. “Oh! That’s it! You’re saying we don’t need heaps of neopoints to make Lai a wonderful dinner.” And a new plan was put into motion...
“I am so beyond thrilled, you guys! Altador is the best place to spend an evening, don’t you think? Where are we going?” Lai asked, skipping happily and twirling in her new Long Orange Dress. It looked nice on her.
“You’ll see, Bubbles,” I told her craftily. The four of us and Masha were walking through Altador together. Laikania, who hasn’t traveled much and has never been to Altador, was gaping at the sights and sounds around her. “Look at all those boats!” she cried just now, for instance. “Can we go look at the boats? Please?”
“Later,” Masha said, pulling her along.
We went inside Exquisite Ambrosia. It was the perfect place for a Pet Day dinner, I thought, and definitely not as costly as Kelp. They had my favorite Altadorian Olive Salad there and Lai’s favorite Fancy Cheese Platter as well. This was so much better than Kelp.
Lai grinned. “Can I really order anything I want?” she asked, looking around the shop in wonder.
“It IS Usul Day. Take your pick,” Emi told her.
We each got some sort of fanciful delicacy to enjoy that evening. Masha suggested that we visit her side account’s neopets, whose house was somewhere in the northern part of Altador. They were very nice, if a little strange. The three neopets had just started their dinner, and we were glad to join them. Their house didn’t have enough chairs for all of us, though, and Lai thought it would be best to eat outside, on the very edge of the peninsula, and watch the boats go by.
“This has been the greatest Usul day ever!” Lai declared. “I really can’t see how you could possibly make it better.” Rissa, Emi and I exchanged knowing smiles.
“Are you sure about that?” Masha said, pulling out two whole (though slightly squashed) Lemon Swirl Usul Cakes out of her purse.
“Oh my gosh! It’s my absolute favorite kind of cake!” Lai cried.
“Also, as of today, you get an allowance of one thousand neopoints a week, which you may spend on whatever you like,” Masha hastened to add, pulling a small bag of neopoints out of her purse.
Lai hugged each of us. “Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!” she said.
Emi passed her a knife.”Would you like do the honors of cutting it?”
Lai obliged. And the eight of us shared it, slice by slice, right there on the grass.